Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog Art Exhibition Jennifer Lilya "Pink and Gold"

Jennifer Lilya is a fashion illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. She loves runway sketching and traditional fashion illustration, but with a modern edge. 

Interview with Jennifer Lilya

What is it like being an illustrator in the fashion world
In a word, fun! 

Your runway sketches are adored by a lot of your fans. Which fashion shows do you find most inspiring? 
They change from season to season, but right now I’m all about Fall 2011 Prada, Gucci & the Cacharel prints. I also loved the Armani Prive Couture show for all those super shiny jewel tones. Yum!

Your sketches have appeared in famous fashion magazines like Elle. Did you ever imagine coming this far? 
Well, I always wanted it- whether it would happen was a different story. But, yes- I’ve worked really, really hard to get to where I am, so I’m incredibly delighted with how my career is unfolding.

What does your perfect outfit look like? 
In the summer I want cute little girly dresses- fun patterns, kicky skirts.
In the winter I want black & silver from head to toe.
And platform heels, always and forever.

If you could give some advice to young fashion illustrators, what would it be? 
Get inspired, practice, keep a sketchbook with you at all times, and take advantage of free portfolio sites (Coroflot, Behance, Fashion Industry Network are just a few…)

For more work by Jennifer Lilya visit

Deborah Champion "Art is a process"

Deborah Champion is an illustrator from Southampton. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about artistic influences, self employment and why she likes Andy Warhol.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

Everywhere really! I guess this was always true but particularly these days. The modern world is saturated with images and ideas.

I was on a forum and the debate was if you should use your doll in art. I have dolls and they are inspiration for me but some people thought if they were sculpted by someone else you had no right to use them. And they said that if you were a good artist, you would only draw things that came from your own mind. It sort of goes against hundreds of years of still life and life drawing and stuck me as odd because it assumes your ideas are solely your own, and not influenced by all the things you had seen and forgotten, just because you hadn't used them overtly as a reference point.
I've started a little inspiration blog over at tumblr where you can collect images you like, though a lot of it is still my own work because I feel wary of reposting other peoples work, so folks don't like it.

What are your current projects about?

Posters, currently, I have become interested in that era when posters were first about and they were really something special, just because there weren't so many images in the world. I like to imagine strolling along a Parisian street and coming across a work by Lautrec. Advertising generally is quite interesting. I like typography, and I'm working on some posters advertising things that don't exist, and nursery rhymes, with the empathis on the lettering. I'll be reissuing some of my old favorites though too, the quotation prints were always popular.

What are the up and downsides of being an artist? 
Just the regular difficulties of self employment, I suppose, and people think you don't work if you are self employed. I'm always getting asked if I want to me a teacher, my husband is a teacher. Of course I don't! I love printing! Every day I get up and I do things I like and I spend money on artist materials which is my favorite it's all tax deductible and I earn more than I would working part time and I go on big adventures with my little boy the rest of the time and I'm happy. Money is not terribly important to me, provided we have the essentials and a few trinkets to live by.

Who are your favorite artists? 

I think the living artists have inspired my most... Elizabeth Magill.. I love the wide open oilscapes. And Megan Chapmans work.. I love those abstract pieces. I know her from the website But I like very graphic work too. I am just learning that just because I like a style, I don't have to do it in my work. I can still enjoy it as a spectator, still appreciate what's in the Tate modern and what's on the billboard in the highstreet. And art is a process really, the painting at the end is a by product. There's room for everyone. Andy Warhol. I like some of his ideas about art- why shouldn't it be affordable? Why shouldn't we all have some? I've heard all sorts of criticisms of his work by people that have never seen an exhibition of his. A lifetimes work and they've condensed it down (if you forgive the pun) to a tin of soup and Marylin Monroe. Some of his work is very interesting.

Did you ever want to do something else besides art? 
Well I have a PhD in geochemistry so I suppose that I had some inclination to do other things!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don West "The simplest of things"

With his sketches Don West gives a new look at things that we rarely notice or even consider. I particularly like the way he writes stories next to the sketches and how they  become part of his art. With tradeyourtalent he speaks about idle minutes in our lives and how the simplest of things can conjure up stories or memories.

Your sketch blog is called "Idle Minutes". What is your blog about?

Don: We all have idle minutes in our lives. Waiting at the airport, sitting on a bench while our significant other shops, lunch breaks, work breaks, watching television. We have considerably more idle time than we're aware of in the course of a day. (If you don't...slow down!) Idle Minutes, the blog, is about what I do in my own idle minutes...which is usually sketch something for the blog. That doesn't always hold true. I have periods when I don't do much in the way of creativity. But I'm almost always thinking about it even if I'm not motivated to act.

These sketches tend to be of things, people, situations, stories, travel, and the occasional beautiful scene that moves me. Any subject that I fancy for the moment really. They are sketches of my experiences in my daily life. An illustrated journal if you will. I put them on a blog because it's fun to do. I meet a lot of people through the blog who are entertained by the material there. They range from artists to people who have never attempted to draw. And there are many, many people across the globe who do the same thing. We all stumble upon each others blogs and become subscribers. I've currently got over a hundred email subscribers and forty to fifty feed reader subscribers. They just come out of nowhere. Apparently they enjoy what I'm doing and that makes it even more fun for me.

Can you remember your first sketch? 

Don: Well...for Idle Minutes, it was the first post back in 2006. (I've since lost all those posts as the result of a hacking incident.) It was of a small, ill-kept, single-story, cinderblock building in North Georgia that I would pass while traveling to the mountains. It sat right beside the highway and had a row of rusted and dented washers, dryers, and refrigerators lined up against the facade. Dirty glass picture windows with spider webs flanked the single entry door which sported a black aluminum screen door dangling on its hinges, the screen torn. Grass and weeds were growing up through the derelict appliances. Scenes like this are sprinkled all about the rural United States. What struck me about this scene was the hand-painted white tin sign with crooked black lettering that was nailed above the door, slightly crooked naturally. It simply read..."Income Taxes Filled Out". To me this was hilarious! It seemed the last place someone would go to have their income taxes prepared.

What inspires you to your sketches? 

Don: Our lives are so busy. We pass by so much each day and never acknowledge 99% of it consciously. What inspires me is all the stuff that I would otherwise have missed if I hadn't been purposely looking for it. There is so much humor, irony and shear wonder in all these things. And that makes them fun to sketch and journal about. From observing nature, human endeavors and behaviors, and things we all take for granted, one can easily make their days more interesting and humorous. The simplest of things can conjure up memories or stories. And sketching them causes one to slow down and actually see them. I'm inspired by those types of things. And I'm inspired by the comments I receive from the people who visit Idle Minutes. It gives me joy to give people a little chuckle or move their emotions in a positive way with a scene I've sketched or painted.

Could you ever imagine being a full time artist? 

Don: Oh sure! I've imagined it all my life. But truthfully, I would make a terrible full time artist. Unless I could paint whatever I liked whenever I liked, I would quickly become bored with it. Making it a job makes it too structured for me. I would have to "paint for the market" as opposed to painting as a means of self expression and self therapy. Sketching what I observe in life is a real therapy for me. Trying to do it under the constraints of meeting the needs of a gallery or client base would be very difficult. So, you might say I work so I can play...and my play is all that I've mentioned above.

Which artist blogs do you like to visit? 

Don: Oh there are bunches! There are a lot of people on the Internet keeping sketch blogs. I also have some favorite watercolor artists I keep up with. I do all my work in watercolor and pen or pencil. So watercolor artists are of great interest to me. Though they don't have blogs (they are deceased), I enjoy finding online information about two of my favorite watercolor artists, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. And here are a few sketch bloggers and watercolor artists I follow - Fine ArtistsLarry Cannon , Chet Reneson , Francis Golden , Brett James Smith ; Sketch Bloggers Cathy Gatland , Tommy Kane , Pete Scully , Rebecca Stahr , Laura Frankstone and Karen Sandstrom .

One pastime I enjoy is finding sketch blogs I haven't seen before. There are so many!

Don West,

Don West,

Don West,

Don West,

Don West,

Don West,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coming up this week: Sneak Peek / Keeping Promises and New Beginnings

Keeping Promises: Last week was really crazy, I was loaded with so much work that I didn't even get to write one tiny little post. I've been feeling guilty ever since, because I have so many amazing interviews coming up that I want to share with all of you :-) But I'm promising you now, that after I've handed in my thesis this blog will go back to normal! (If I manage to tame these 300 footnotes today  I might even post a new interview this afternoon!) 

New Beginnings: Something exciting is happening tomorrow, I'm having my first meeting with a creative coach, he will (hopefully) be able to give me some advice on making my creative project come true.I hope I can convince him of my idea, that is always the hardest part. (Of course I'll tell you how it went!) 

I'm a bit nervous about it too, since the coach will probably express the typical doubts I've been confronted with lately. I figured I might share them with you. In range and top to bottom (most frequently confronted with to least) 
1. "And how are you going to finance it?"
2. "You know how difficult it is to start something in the creative industry?"
3. "And what is your role again, exactly?"
4. "Finding a business partner is more difficult than a relationship"
5. "Do you have this all planned out?"
6. "I think you should concentrate on something else first." (Yup, I've been pondering about that one for a while now,  still don't know what it means, exactly)

And now a Sneak Peek of what is coming up on TYT:

- blog art exhibition: paper, canvas, watercolor....and for those of you who know him his blog is called "Idle....." ;-)
- art from Denmark
- an amazing photography project
- an art project in South America 
- another blog art exhibition, themes: cabaret, fashion, literature....

Now you just have to cross your fingers that I'll be able to hand in my thesis asap! ;-) 
Have a great week! 


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